The effects of compression stockings on the energetics and biomechanics during walking
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The purpose of this study was to explore how compression stockings affect the energetics and biomechanics during walking.
Sixteen male adults participated in this study. Participants completed walking trials on the treadmill and force plates, wearing compression stockings (CS) or nothing as a control condition (CON). The data obtained included metabolic rate, muscle activation, step frequency and step length as well as their variability, joint kinematics and joint kinetics.
The effect of compression stockings on metabolic rate was trivial (CS: 3.81 ± 0.44 W kg−1, CON: 3.83 ± 0.46 W kg−1, p = 0.84, d = 0.05). Activation of calf muscles, step frequency and step length as well as their variability, joint range of motion and joint powers did not show a significant difference between conditions (p = 0.09–0.90, d = 0.01–0.34). The peak knee extension moment during the early stance phase had a tendency to increase (CS: 0.57 ± 0.27 N m kg−1, CON: 0.51 ± 0.28 N m kg−1, p = 0.05, d = 0.19) while the peak knee flexion moment during the late swing phase had a tendency to decrease (CS: 0.16 ± 0.10 N m kg−1, CON: 0.19 ± 0.12 N m kg−1, p = 0.10, d = 0.21). The peak ankle dorsiflexion moment during the early stance phase significantly increased (CS: 0.11 ± 0.06 N m kg−1, CON: 0.08 ± 0.05 N m kg−1, p = 0.02, d = 0.58) while the peak ankle plantar flexion moment during the late swing phase significantly decreased (CS: 1.41 ± 0.12 N m kg−1, CON: 1.47 ± 0.14 N m kg−1, p = 0.02, d = 0.45).
Compression stockings have a limited effect on improving energetics of walking, but they may play a role in improving biomechanics by altering the relative contribution of knee and ankle moments to propulsion.
KeywordsCompression garment Muscle activation Kinematics Kinetics Metabolic cost
Maximal voluntary contraction
Respiratory exchange ratio
Root mean square
Range of motion
The authors would like to acknowledge all participants who volunteered to participate in the experiment. We also would like to render thanks to Di Hu, Yuyao Liu, Bo Huang, Xiaowei Xu, Chuang Liu and Zhiliang Xie for all their advice.
CX conceived and designed research. LC conducted experiments, analyzed data and wrote the manuscript. CX revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grants 91648203, and Program of International Science and Technology Cooperation of China under Grant 2016YFE0113600.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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